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Putting homicide followed by suicide in context: Do macro‐environmental characteristics impact the odds of committing suicide after homicide?*

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Criminology

Published online on

Abstract

--- - |2 Abstract Homicide followed by suicide remains an understudied phenomenon in the criminological literature. This is due, in part, to methodological and statistical limitations—much of the extant research includes small samples and has not kept pace with quantitative advances. Moreover, scholarship on homicide–suicide has been focused almost exclusively on individual risk factors, discounting contextual influences. In this study, we examine whether macro‐environmental characteristics affect the odds of suicide after a homicide. We use data on 24,373 homicide and homicide–suicide cases distributed across 3,019 cities and 48 U.S. states from the National Violent Death Reporting System to examine the direct effects of structural factors on the odds of suicide after a homicide; and whether structural characteristics condition the impact of the victim–offender relationship on the odds of homicide–suicide. Hierarchical logistic regression models indicate that macro‐level concentrated disadvantage decreases the odds of homicide–suicide. Furthermore, concentrated disadvantage attenuates the odds of suicide after the homicide of an intimate partner, child, family member, or friend, relative to the killing of a stranger. The findings reveal that researchers should account for the context in which homicide–suicide occurs; failure to do so may unintentionally discount a key correlate of homicide–suicide and artificially inflate the effects of the micro‐environment. - 'Criminology, EarlyView. '